GASTONIA, N.C. -- In the last row of Superior courtroom 4C a woman sat with her head bowed, not wanting to look at the defendant sitting in the front of the courtroom.
“I still can’t look at her,” said Tammy Eudy, speaking about Charla Davis. “She doesn’t care and she leaves others to pick up the destruction.”
Monday in pre-trial motions, Judge Marvin Pope ruled that a key piece of evidence in the first trial could not be used in Davis’ upcoming re-trial.
“It’s like a slap in the face,” said Eudy, standing with her family as Charla Davis’ family members huddled up the hall with her defense attorney on what would appear to be a major victory in Davis' case.
“It strengthens our case, yes,” said David Phillips who now represents Davis. “But it’s still up to a jury to decide,” he added.
But after the judge’s ruling, Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell asked for an emergency appeal on Judge Pope’s ruling effectively halting the trial before a ruling on the state’s motion is made.
Today was supposed to be the start of Charla Davis' re-trial on second degree murder charges for the hit and run death of 40 year old Ronnie Eudy in August of 2008. Eudy had stopped on the Catawba River bridge on Wilkinson Boulevard to offer aid to a driver who was having medical issues, when he and several others were hit by Davis' car. Davis did not stop after striking the people and Eudy died at the scene.
Davis turned herself in ten hours later and that’s when police did something that may have led to today’s ruling. A Belmont police officer arrested Davis without administering a Blood Alcohol Test (BAC), stating that he smelled alcohol on her breathe.
In her first trial, the state called an expert witness who testified that using an odor analysis was an acceptable way to determine that Davis was above the legal limit to drive, even ten hours later.
A jury convicted Davis on counts of second degree murder, driving while license revoked, driving while impaired and two counts of felony hit and run and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
In November of last year, an appellate court over-turned the second degree murder conviction because it said the “odor analysis” test was not a suitable way to determine the level of Davis’ alcohol level. The court also ruled that the jury should not have heard testimony about two of Davis four previous drunk driving convictions.
Davis is still being held on a $176,000 bond. Her family would not say if they planned to try to bail her out.